Young missionary shares journey of obedience to God’s call
“When Jesus had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay, he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him” (Mark 1:19-20).
We often admire the courage of those who drop everything to follow Jesus, but what about the people they leave behind? How did Zebedee feel as he watched his sons give up their jobs and everything they knew to follow Jesus?
For many missionaries across the globe, the family they left behind is always on their mind. There is often worry about who will care for their aging parents and a sense of grief knowing their children will grow up apart from grandparents and other relatives.
“I can really say it’s not just me, but my whole family is serving the Lord by allowing me to go into missions.” These are the words of Sarah Palosa, a volunteer missionary currently serving in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Sarah grew up in Cavite, Philippines, and graduated from Visayan Nazarene Bible College (now Central Philippine Nazarene College) in Cebu. In her final year of study, Sarah recalls meeting some people suffering from injustices. She felt that no one was listening to them, and she had a strong desire to use the skills God had given her to help in some way. So she went on to study Christian communication at Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary.
As her heart for missions grew, Sarah was inspired by the words of Frederick Buechner, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” As a result, she says, “The view that I had before kind of shifted. Instead of using my communication skills for myself, I want to use my skills and passion to minister to other people and somehow help the church.”
When the opportunity arose to serve in Thailand, Sarah felt nervous about how her family might react. “In our Filipino culture, if you are the eldest and if you finish college, you need to help your parents. Even if they have their own work, you need to chip in financial support. [But they told me], ‘We are going to support you all the way, and we will see what happens and where the Lord leads you. If he wants you to go, he will provide everything.’
“It’s not just my obedience; it’s really the obedience of my parents. I always get emotional when I think about it because I know it’s hard for them. They worry. They have their desires for me, but they set those aside because what the Lord desires for me is the main focus. I am really grateful for my parents. They always told me, ‘Whatever, wherever, and whenever the Lord is leading you, just go.’ I feel their support and prayers. I’m amazed by how they followed the Lord also.”
Sarah firmly believes that when someone says yes to God’s call, “It’s not just one person who is obeying the Great Commission, but it’s the obedience of their family who was left behind and who set aside their own desires, their friends who miss them but who understand that they need to do what the Lord wants, and the church who is praying for them and supporting them, letting them feel that they are not alone on the journey. It’s communal obedience, not just individual obedience. I cannot just say that I obey the Lord, but it’s like we obey the Lord. It’s a connection. Alongside me are my family, friends, and my church people. Because they obey the Lord, I can obey the Lord.”
Sarah Palosa is a new missionary serving in Mae Taeng, Thailand.
She is teaching English to the students of the Chapman Institute of Theology.
Visit Sarah Palosa‘s profile to know more about how you can connect and partner with her ministry.